This week I created a Twitter account (@KatBayless), but I'm almost positive that social media and I go together about as well as higher taxes and the Tea Party. The thought of actually twittering makes my stomach clench and a cold sweat spring from my pores. Two days ago, I made my very first comment ever on another author's blog. You'd have thought it was a life or death event with the way I agonized about it. It was only three measly sentences, one of which was a single word—"congratulations!" (You think I'm kidding, don't you?) Until I self-published my first novel, it hadn't occurred to me that I'm a bit of an introvert. Wacky as it seems, this discovery was a shock! It's not like I have a problem socializing. I have friends. I like to talk. I love learning new things about my friends and acquaintances. Really. It's only when I translate my inner thoughts into the printed word for the world to see that I get nervous. How ridiculous does that sound coming from an author? (Please, don't answer that!)
Maybe being an in-print introvert is not so strange when you consider that up until my book was published, writing had been a solitary pastime. It wasn't until my novel was uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks that I was forced out of the private world I had created, confronted by the realization that others were actually reading and evaluating my work. Amazing, but terrifying at the same time!
Now adding to my distress is the need for marketing. As a self-published author, I was already aware that word of mouth was going to be the key to my success. So it stands to reason that in order to increase my sales, I have to let as many people know about my book as possible. To do this, I have to put myself 'out there' even further. I have to learn the art of tooting my own horn. Although I am unequivocally proud of what I've accomplished, this is something that does not come easily for me.
So, I started out with baby steps. My first task was to create a presence on the web. I purchased my domain names—www.katherinebayless.com and www.deadlyremains.com—from Network Solutions, but there are other domain sellers out there, like GoDaddy for example. For a quicker way to set up my blog, I installed WordPress on my site. If you can't afford to purchase your own domain name, don't despair. WordPress offers a cost-free way to start blogging quickly by using a hosted version of their package. It just means you will have a slightly longer web address with "wordpress.com" at the end.
My husband, who has been such an asset and a tireless supporter, dedicated his artistic talents to creating a Deadly Remains book trailer video for YouTube. This wasn't an easy task, but I think it turned out beautifully. (See for yourself. The viewer is on my sidebar.) It's amazing what can be accomplished with free software, some stock artwork, a little know-how and a lot of time!
Next, I created my Twitter account and tried to find other aspiring and published authors to follow. Maybe someday I'll actually tweet, but, for now, I'm comfortable taking the cautious approach to this new media outlet. This will be a work in progress.
In addition to looking at Twitter, I've spent the past few days reading other writer's blogs and perusing various literary forums looking for information that might help me in my endeavors. There is a mountain of information out there that could easily suck up hours and hours of my already limited free time. Again, work in progress.
One blog that I'm currently checking out is Rachelle Gardner's. I hit pay-dirt on the 'How To Market Your Book' post and am still working through all the interesting links she provided in that one entry. Thank you Rachelle!
Because my book is a contemporary fantasy, I've found the SFFWorld.com forums to be compelling reading. Again, I've only scratched the surface there and I plan to spend more time delving deeper into that site's archives.
It is thrilling to know that there is a vast community of other aspiring and already published writers out there who are blogging about their experiences. It is SO nice to know that I'm not alone!
Maybe this social media thing isn't so bad after all!